Rose lovers, if you had told me six months ago that I would be voluntarily recapping a six-episode singing show on ABC, I would have slapped those words right out of your mouth. But these are strange and scary times. The Bachelor is over, and The Bachelorette has been postponed indefinitely. Bachelor Summer Games is dead, and it seems highly unlikely that Paradise will open on schedule (if at all).
Things are grim, rose lovers. And so, we turn to the one person who never lets us down.
Fine. Fine. Fine. LET’S RECAP, DAMMIT!
Listen to Your Heart is Team Bachelor’s attempt to conjure up a little A Star Is Born magic — minus the suicide at the end, one hopes. (The story has been the same since 1937, so stop whining about spoilers.) This Frankenstein’s monster of a reality show throws 20 single people together to date and promote their not-yet-existent music careers. “Will a shared love of music lead to a love that is shared forever?” asks Harrison. No, no it will not. But why not pretend for the next six weeks? It’s not like any of us are going anywhere. (Please stay home. Please wash your hands.)
Let’s meet the singing singles!
Brandon, 34: This former Marine scout sniper from Nashville has seen some things. Music helped him get through the incredible stress of serving, and now he’s ready to “build a life with a woman.”
Bri, 28: Her last love affair ended with a broken engagement, leaving this singer from Provo, Utah, totally “crushed.” Now, with the help of Mike Fleiss and some TV cameras, she’s ready to date again.
Sheridan, 27: This longhaired young man from Austin loves hats and his silver Subaru (he named it “Sheila”). Having spent the last several months living out of his SUV while he played gigs all over the country, Sheridan is ready to find a “co-pilot for Sheila.”
Bekah, 25: Oh Lord, we have a musical theater weirdo. “I don’t exist without musical theater,” says Bekah. Also:
Gabe, 28: This handsome lad from Houston plays the cello and he can flip a tractor tire! Plus, he loves the Lord! He’s already way too good for this whole situation!
Savannah, 25: This yoga teacher from Nashville is both a “free spirit” and a “wild child.” In other words, she loves clichés.
Trevor, 29: He has a dog. Look at that good boy!
He (Trevor) was also on American Idol a few years ago, and Katy Perry declared him “so hot.” (Of course, the Bachelor franchise doesn’t mind taking another show’s sloppy seconds. It practically invented the concept of sloppy seconds!)
Jamie, 21: If you thought we were going to get through this whole premiere without anyone saying, “Music is my love language,” this apple-cheeked young woman from Nashville just proved you wrong. Also, everyone she’s ever dated has cheated on her.
Eight is enough (introduction packages), rose lovers — time to move on to the action. Jamie is the first into Casa LTYH (a.k.a. Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley), and it isn’t long before she’s squealing and throwing her arms around the first man there (Ryan, 28). Matt, 32, is next — and at first I wasn’t sure about him because he shaves the sides of his head and performs something called “Neo-Soul.” But then Matt admitted that he’s never seen The Bachelor and he didn’t even know Chris Harrison’s name (“It’s Chris, uh… Hemsworth?”) — so now he is dead to me.
Savannah struts in next, followed by Mel, a 27-year-old waitress/indie rocker from Brooklyn. Gabe shows up next (no truck tire in sight), and then it’s time to meet Rudi, a 24-year-old studio vocalist from Texas who has, and I quote, “dated all of L.A. already.” When Trevor walks in, Jamie — who had been flirting nonstop with Ryan — has her “head turned,” as they say on the U.K. Love Island. (Man, I miss the U.K. Love Island.) “We have so much in common,” gushes Jamie.
But just as Jamie is hoping that no “douchebags” walk into the party, in strolls this dude:
True to form, Michael starts belting out an original composition, if you want to call it that. I would say that his voice sounds a little like Adam Levine on helium, but that’s kind of an insult to both Adam Levine and helium. “This guy’s weird,” notes Jamie. He’s also a skeeze: After just a few minutes of flirting with Savannah, he starts angling for a kiss.
“I like your lips,” he murmurs, leaning in slightly. “Thank you,” replies Savannah. Seeing that he’s getting nowhere, Michael leans in even farther and bites his bottom lip. “A lot,” he says. Savannah, who clearly has no interest in kissing him, says, “I appreciate it,” and refuses to lean anywhere near him. “You don’t like my lips?” Michael pouts. News flash, Michael: No one seems to like your lips as much as you do.
Later, Savannah vents to the camera. “It’s night one, and I’ve already had to dodge a kiss,” she sighs. “It’s not even night one. We’re in hour one!”
We get it, girl.
It seems like even the producers are getting tired of these yahoos because suddenly a whole bunch of new people are there that we never even saw walk in. There’s Russell, a 26-year-old “American folk” singer from New York; a country singer in a large cowboy hat; a singer-songwriter named Chris (30, Los Angeles); and a “young, jacked Mr. Clean” named Josh.
Soon after Sheridan arrives, we get all of the final arrivals in rapid succession: A tall blonde named Julia (27, pop singer from Pennsylvania); a 23-year-old R&B musician named Cheyenne; Bri of the broken engagement; and Brandon, the former Marine.
Okay, Harrison, can you get in here and lay out the “rules,” please? Blah blah blah, romantic dates, blah blah blah date cards, blah blah blah rose ceremonies. There are 12 men and eight women, so four men are going home at the first rose ceremony.
For now, though, the contestants are sent to their rooms — which, literally, are just two big rooms outfitted with fancy Ikea bunk beds. From there, the men and the women spend some time chatting, separately, about who they’re into. Sheridan has his eye on Julia, so as soon as the mingling is back in session, he steals her away to make a “connection.” Turns out when she’s not singing, Julia — who was born with cystic fibrosis — runs a nonprofit that provides music therapy programs for children’s hospitals. “I feel like such an underachiever!” jokes Sheridan. (He’s probably not joking. The guy lived in his Subaru.)
Unfortunately for Sheridan, Brandon soon swoops in to cut his time with Julia short. Brandon’s flirting style is definitely closer to the “douchebag” end of the spectrum than Sheridan’s. “Are you looking at my lips?” he teases Julia as they sip cocktails by the fire. (What is it with these guys and lips???) And right after that, he leans in for the kiss.
Gross. Even worse, after that, he pulls out his guitar and serenades her. Rose lovers, I hate that s--- on The Bachelorette, and I hate it here. But as I mentioned before, we are in desperate times, and ABC has tricked me into recapping a singing show.
Anyhow, all the guys are anxious to make a “connection” with someone, anyone. Matt, who is interested in Rudi, decides “it might be a cool thing to start off night one with a little hot-tub action.” Of course there’s a hot tub, rose lovers! And for the second time in this season premiere, a man tries to pressure the woman he’s with — a woman he’s just met — to kiss him.
“Just because time is of the essence, do you judge a person on how they kiss?” Matt asks Rudi, and she is predictably mortified.
Rudi wants to wait because she has known this dude for like an hour. Michael Todd is also feeling the sting of rejection: He tried to get Bri to take a dip in the hot tub with him, and she pulled out the old “I have to go evacuate my bladder” excuse. Finally, we cut to two people who actually want to kiss each other: Ryan and Jamie.
And there’s even better news: Ryan has a job, as an ophthalmic technician, so she won’t be dating a deadbeat if this music thing doesn’t work out. But Jamie is also into Trevor. Like, “hot tub make-out session” into him.
“I’m just, like, so confused, and I’ve only been here a few hours!” giggles Jamie.
The next morning, Trevor is feeling fairly confident about getting Jamie’s rose. “We have a lot in common musically,” he explains. But when the first date card arrives, Ryan — Trevor’s main rival for Jamie’s affections — is the one who gets to pick a “lucky” “lady” for a one-on-one outing. What are the odds, right?
Of course, the bespectacled Tom Everett Scott lookalike chooses Jamie for the date. And of course, the date involves singing — at the world-famous Capitol Records building, under the watchful eye of Grammy-winning producer John Alagía. Jamie and Ryan’s mission? To record a decent version of the John Mayer song “Gravity.” Alagía informs the duo that they’ll be singing into a microphone once used by Frank Sinatra, which only adds to the pressure — because that mic will definitely know if they suck. Get to work, you two!
Jamie’s a little nervous at first, but then Ryan changes the key so the melody will suit her voice better, and she’s like, OMG that’s soooo sweet. Huh. Romance is different with musicians, I guess?
Back at Hummingbird House (or whatever), date card number two arrives. It goes to Matt — but rather than asking Rudi, the woman he tried to pressure into kissing him in the hot tub, Matt asks Mel on the date. Rudi is, in a word, nonplussed.
F that noise, Rudi. You can do better.
If you’re wondering what happened with Ryan and Jamie, they finally sang “Gravity” together and then shared a smooch on the roof of the Capitol Records building as the sun set.
“Us singing together definitely, like, brings up, like, the romance level,” says Jamie. “I feel like it definitely sped up my connection with him.”
Elsewhere in the Listen-verse, Chris the soul singer is “vibing” with Bri the pop artist. Rudi, meanwhile, is “vibing” with the idea of trashing Matt to all of the other women. “When we sat down, he was like, ‘What do you like to do? I’m taking you on the date,’” Rudi tells Savannah and Bekah. “I swear. I sat down, he was like, ‘I want to take you on the date.’”
Based on what we saw, this isn’t true — Matt simply asked her what she would like to do on a date — but who knows what we didn’t see. “Hopefully their date is terrible,” Rudi groans. Well, Matt and Mel’s date involves a “private” backyard concert by the Plain White T’s — so Rudi, I think you got your wish.
As the first rose ceremony approaches, many of the guys — including Trevor and Sheridan — are feeling nervous. Though Sheridan wants Julia’s rose, he’s worried that the “all-American,” “ripped,” “bald” dude named Josh may steal her heart first. And he has a big reason to worry:
“I walked outside, and Julia and Josh are all over each other,” says Sheridan. “I’ve gotta make a move.” But oh my GOD, why does Sheridan’s “move” have to be serenading Julia with a half-finished song?
But Julia LOVES it. She gives Sheridan a big smooch. “That was so special!” she says.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Matt’s Plain White T’s date with Mel went, the answer is: Nowhere. “There just wasn’t much of a spark,” admits Matt. (And Mel has already moved on to Gabe, the handsome soul/folk singer from Houston.) Knowing he needs a rose from someone, Matt decides to “circle back” to Rudi, the woman he pressured in the hot tub and also dissed with the date card. I’m sure this will go REALLY well.
Rudi reads Matt the riot act for telling her he was going to take her on the date (true? We’ll never know). Matt says she must have “misinterpreted” what he said, but he also apologizes if he “worded it poorly.” As Rudi continues to scold him, Matt finally just blurts this out: “Sometimes stuff comes out of my mouth, and I don’t even know what’s going on.” This may be the most honest thing ever said on a Bachelor-related show. But yeah, Matt is not getting Rudi’s rose. “I’m pretty sure I’m screwed,” he says.
Gah, there is nothing I hate more than watching someone serenade someone else, and this godforsaken show is FULL OF PEOPLE SERENADING OTHER PEOPLE.
Yep, that’s Michael Todd performing his hit ditty “Hot Touch” for Rudi, who loves it so much she twerks and shows her underwear. Who says musicians can’t be as trashy as Bachelor in Paradise contestants?
In a last-ditch effort to get Jamie’s rose, Trevor pulls her aside. “This isn’t, like, my last-ditch to try and, like, get a rose,” he says. “I just want to hang with you… I just enjoy spending time with you.” Oooh, he’s good. And because these guys apparently have no other flirtation tools at their disposal, Trevor grabs his guitar and sings “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” Another John Mayer tune — take that, Ryan! Do I need to tell you, dear readers, that Jamie LOVES it?
“I’m just, um, confused,” a teary Jamie tells us after her second smooch of the night. “I just don’t trust myself at all!” You shouldn’t, Jamie! You’re 21 years old, and you voluntarily signed up for a music-themed Bachelor spinoff — clearly, your judgment is atrocious.
Rose ceremony time! Look at this lot. These dudes look like a classic-rock cover band called Nightmare Stepdad.
The “ladies” will be handing out the roses tonight, and Harrison has one last piece of advice for them.
This f---ing show. I hate myself. Okay, let’s do this. Rose ceremony roll call: Savannah gives her rose to Brandon; Mel gives her rose to Gabe; Bekah gives her rose to Danny (who?); Bri gives her rose to Chris (and his gold lamé scarf); Cheyenne gives her rose to Matt (well that screams “producer’s handiwork,” doesn’t it?); Julia gives her rose to Sheridan; and Jamie gives her rose to Trevor. Goddammit, Jamie! Fortunately, there’s one rose left, and Rudi will do whatever the producers tell her.
Huzzah, Ryan survives for another week. Sorry Jack, Josh, Russell, and Michael Todd, but your “journey” ends here. Also, I’m pretty sure we never actually learned Jack’s name — I just matched his face to the picture on the ABC website. Another thing I learned from that website? We haven’t met the entire cast yet! As the previews reveal, next week a bunch of hot women arrive at Hummingbird Manor, or whatever — meaning this is like Bachelor in Paradise (or Love Island) but with 100 percent more serenading. My God, this is going to be unbearable… and I will watch every damn second of it.
Welp, rose lovers, are you riding this pain train with me? If so, which one of these “couples” or “singers” are you rooting for? Will you miss Michael Todd and his “Hot Touch” moves? Is anyone there good enough for Ryan? And do you think Amazon still has earplugs in stock? Post your thoughts below!
Listen to Your Heart airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.